Thursday, April 1, 2010

Visiting a Jewelry Workshop in Nepal

Nilofur, is one of our suppliers. She has many customers both in the US and throughout Europe. She graciously invited us to see her workshop our second morning in Nepal.

The finished product.
This pendant measures 7 cm in diameter. They like large jewelry in Nepal.
The Conch (shankha), which is used as a horn, it symbolizes the deep, far reaching and melodious sound of Buddhist teachings. This sound awakens sentient beings from the slumber of ignorance and encourages compassion.

Here the craftsman is hand chasing the different designs of the 8 Auspicious Tibetan symbols , Astamangala, into the pendants. Notice that there is no pattern for him to follow. Although the workmanship is so precise that it looks like it was molded or stamped out, it is actually made one piece at a time.

Nilofur and Jennifer Gerard

Here we are comparing the silver pendant before inserting stones in the finished product.

Sorry about the fuzzy photos. I wanted you to see that every small jump ring and tiny little decoration is hand pulled, curled and soldered.

He is measuring and making rings on a mandrel.

Craftsmen and women working together.

They have just returned from their lunch break. There is a kitchen next to the work area where they can get tea and food but I think that most of them went home.

Most people remove their shoes when they enter rooms in Nepal. In the work room, I see both bare feet and sandals.

There are windows all along the wall which provide light for the craftsmen to work by. Electricity in the dry season can be as little as 2 hours a day so they have to make the best use of their light hours.

This man is making beads. The work is tiny and precise so he is working out on the porch with lots of light.

I sell thousands of pieces of hand made beads and finished jewelry every year. I am often asked if I make all of the jewelry that I sell myself. Most people don't realize the hours of work that go into the collection of jewelry that I sell. Nilofur is one of several people supplying us with finished products. Even though my business is actually a very small business, it provides work for dozens of people.



  1. making jewelry like this is an art, a wonderful and incredible art!

  2. Such beautiful craftsmanship! Unless a person actually spends time creating something, the workmanship is often taken for granted. Thanks for giving us a view into their jewelry workshop. Sometime tell us about the altitude and the weather.

  3. Hi Tammie and Leenie, I knew that artists such as yourselves would appreciate the work.

    We had great weather during this trip. It was in the high 70's low 80's during the day and 40's at night. Very comfortable. The altitude of Kathmandu is less than one mile, 4,500 ft not quite as high as Denver. I did go higher but I will talk about that later.

  4. This was a facinating look at what goes into everything that's handmade and all that you sell. I'm so impressed with the artists doing their work without any patterns or templates. It's got to feel a joy to know the good your doing by creating jobs for some obviously talented people.
    I think i said it last year, but for sure this year i'm going to buy myself a World of Good piece of jewelry for my birthday!

  5. Love these photos. I so enjoy seeing Nepal through your eyes!

  6. This is absolutely incredible. I love that you are opening people's eyes to what truly goes into such art.
    Its fantastic that I've come across your blog, because there is something I've been inquiring about that maybe you could help? I bought this necklace a few years back to support fair trade, just as you do with your jewelry, and I was told that it was actually made in Nepal as well. There is something etched on the back of it, and I always wondered if it actually meant something.
    If you could somehow help with this, that would be amazing! If not, all the same. :]
    I really love what you do. You are a truly incredible person.

  7. butternut thankyou for that lovely guided tour into the world of craft. my father brought some items back from nepal and tibet and i was astonished by the detail. knowing that it is arrived at through the most painstaking efforts and often in limited light is astonishing to me. have a peaceful day. steven

  8. Fascinating. I certainly can appreciate the workmanship in your jewelry a little better now. True craftsmanship.